Bavaria Census

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Bayern (Bavaria)

Census taking during the time of the Deutsche Zollverein and the German Reich (1834-1919)

Population statistics before 1816 can be retrieved through church registers. In 1816 the first census took place in Prussia.

  • It numbered public and private houses.
  • Population was listed according to gender and age (under 14 years, 14-60 years and over 60 years).
  • Religion was an important factor.
  • Marital enlistment was included.
  • Military Roosters were also a part of the information recorded.

When Prussia became part of the Zollverein (German Customs Union), further censuses were levied. The Zollverein was a coalition of German states formed to manage tariffs and economic policies within this territory. One example of the benefits of this organization would be that goods traveling from Königsberg to Köln would not have to be inspected 80 times. The idea of custom free home markets within their territory came from the Rheinbundstaaten (Federal states of the Rhine).
Here are two maps explaining which states belonged to the Rheinbund and the Zollverein.

Between 1834 and 1867 the Deutsche Zollverein conducted a census every three years: 1834, 1837, 1840, 1843, 1846, 1849, 1852, 1855, 1861, 1864 and 1867.
Censuses were taken during the years of the German Empire (1871-1918) as follows:
December 1871
December 1875
December 1880
December 1885
December 1895
December 1900
December 1905
December 1910
December 1915
December 1917

The format of census taking was underdeveloped. The execution of the census taking was in the hands of the local police. The emphasis was on numbers of population in order to distribute equal taxes. From 1834-1852 the censuses were divided into civil and military population with gender and age noted. Furthermore the marital status of women was included. How these numbers were retrieved was pretty much up to the individual states.

In 1843 the guideline was issued to take a census house by house. This method was more accurate and produced better results. Still, they were not completely accurate.
In 1867 for the first time, a census was taken in all German states simultaneously. Within the states of the Zollverein, the residents were counted by the Norddeutsche Bund or North German Confederation as well as Baden and Hessen counted the factual population.

  • The data was derived by household lists.
  • Each head of household had to provide the requested information.
  • Counting all persons who resided in his household on the night of the census taking and the members who were absent on that day
  • The census was to contain each persons with full name, gender, age, profession, nationality, why present or why not and nationality.
  • The following questions also had to be answered: was the person a citizen of that state, or of another and which one? (While earlier censuses were mainly taken for statistical and tax purposes)
  • In 1870 the commission decided to inforce including information about names, standing in household, gender, place of birth, family status, confession, profession, nationality and place of residence, thus creating a more complete and detailed record of the population of the various areas.

Creating an accurate and efficient method for census taking in Germany has been a long process.


Census has been taken in Bavaria since as early as 1770. The earlier censuses were only for statistical purposes. The census of December 1852 gave more details regarding the population. Age, gender, religion, occupations and buildings were registered. The same information was given in December 1867. From 1810 on the police administrations had to establish yearly population tables. They contained the following

  • Names of all populated places
  • Number of families
  • Number of population (civil/military)
  • Gender
  • Grownups
  • Children
  • Servants
  • Religion
  • Status

In 1834, the guidelines of the Zollverein were followed and additional information retrieved: In 1842 (family status and earnings), in 1846 (family names in some cities), in 1864 each person was recorded by name. In 1867 only the population in connection with customs clearing were counted.

For more information about the Bayern Census see the Historical Dictionary of Bavaria (in German). Also for more insight refer to a research paper "German Census Taking prior to 1871" prepared by Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research

Online Census Sources

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For more historical information see Historical Dictionary of Bavaria

1939 Minorities Census

The links below take you to the FamilySearch Catalog where there is information about the records on microfilm from various census. Check your local Family History Center to see if they can be viewed there. Eventually these records will all be digitized and they will be available online. Check those that have a camera icon to see if that is possible yet. If not recheck periodically